Rob Cross' shock World Darts Championship win could be repeated by another underdog, says Barry Hearn
Last Updated: 04/12/18 3:59pm
Upsets to emulate Rob Cross’ triumph last year have been tipped for the upcoming World Darts Championship by PDC chairman Barry Hearn.
Cross beat Michael van Gerwen then Phil Taylor to claim the sport's biggest prize in his debut campaign last January.
Van Gerwen has uncharacteristically struggled for silverware recently, and Hearn believes that the world No 1's hopes of a third World Championship will be tested by the chasing pack.
"Looking back over the past few weeks we've seen Daryl Gurney, Gerwyn Price and James Wade win on the big stage," Hearn said.
"The essence for these players is to time their run. It's not doom and gloom [depending upon] how you played last week.
"You've got until December 13 to get your game back into pristine condition. Who is mentally equipped to say: 'forget what has gone on'.
"Established players, great players, have been winning tournaments and Van Gerwen hasn't."
The World Championship will feature an expanded field of 96 players including two women, Anastasia Dobromyslova and Lisa Ashton, who could set up ties against Simon Whitlock and Mervyn King respectively.
Van Gerwen and Gary Anderson won the Sid Waddell trophy twice apiece before Cross' shock victory last year.
"It is, without doubt, the most open and the greatest event that we have ever staged," Hearn said about the upcoming tournament.
"The standard is through the roof and I can't wait.
"We've seen a year where no upset will surprise us. We know we're dealing with a host of top quality players.
You could make a case for 32 of them causing upsets, out of the 96-player field."
Seeded players enter in second round
1) Michael van Gerwen v Alan Tabern/Raymond Smith
(32) Max Hopp v Danny Noppert/Royden Lam
(16) Adrian Lewis v Simon Stevenson/Ted Evetts
(17) Raymond van Barneveld v Matthew Edgar/Darius Labanauskas
(8) Simon Whitlock v Ryan Joyce/Anastasia Dobromyslova
(25) Alan Norris v Steve Lennon/James Bailey
(9) James Wade v Krzysztof Ratajski/Seigo Asada
(24) Jelle Klaasen v Keegan Brown/Karel Sedlacek
(5) Daryl Gurney v Ross Smith/Paul Lim
(28) Jamie Lewis v Martin Schindler/Cody Harris
(12) Dave Chisnall v Josh Payne/Jeff Smith
(21) Kim Huybrechts v Robert Thornton/Daniel Larsson
(4) Gary Anderson v Paul Nicholson/Kevin Burness
(29) Jermaine Wattimena v Michael Barnard/Jose De Sousa
(13) Darren Webster v Vincent van der Voort/Lourence Ilagan
(20) Steve Beaton v Chris Dobey/Boris Koltsov
(2) Rob Cross v Jeffrey de Zwaan/Nitin Kumar
(31) Cristo Reyes v Ricky Evans/Rowby-John Rodriguez
(15) Jonny Clayton v Dimitri Van den Bergh/Chuck Puleo
(18) Stephen Bunting v Luke Humphries/Adam Hunt
(7) Mensur Suljovic v Ryan Searle/Stephen Burton
(26) James Wilson v William O'Connor/Yordi Meeuwisse
(10) Michael Smith v Ron Meulenkamp/Diogo Portela
(23) John Henderson v Gabriel Clemens/Aden Kirk
(6) Gerwyn Price v Nathan Aspinall/Geert Nentjes
(27) Kyle Anderson v Jeffrey de Graaf/Noel Malicdem
(11) Ian White v Wayne Jones/Devon Petersen
(22) Steve West v Richard North/Robert Marijanovic
(3) Peter Wright v Toni Alcinas/Craig Ross
(30) Benito van de Pas v Mickey Mansell/Jim Long
(14) Joe Cullen v Brendan Dolan/Yuanjun Liu
(19) Mervyn King v Jan Dekker/Lisa Ashton
Attention now switches to the World Championship with 16 days of coverage, kicking off with a live preview show from Alexandra Palace at 6pm on Thursday December 13 right through until the final on New Year's Day.
Keep up to date with the news as the tungsten enters its busiest time of year with the PDC World Championships just around the corner get all the latest at www.skysports.com/darts and join in the conversation @SkySportsDarts